Being 'alone' striving for belonging and adaption in a new reality - The experiences of spouse carers of persons with dementia
- Hammar LM, Williams CL, Meranius MS, McKee K
- Being 'alone' striving for belonging and adaption in a new reality - The experiences of spouse carers of persons with dementia
- doi: 10.1177/1471301219879343
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Spouse carers of a person with dementia report feeling lonely and trapped in their role, lacking support and having no time to take care of their own health. In Sweden, the support available for family carers is not specialised to meet the needs of spouse carers of people with dementia. The aim of the study described in this paper was to explore spouse carers' experiences of caring for a partner with dementia, their everyday life as a couple and their support needs.
METHODS: Nine spouse carers of a partner with dementia living at home were recruited through a memory clinic and a dementia organisation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the participants, focusing on their experiences of providing care, their support needs in relation to their caring situation, their personal well-being and their marital relationship. The interviews were transcribed and underwent qualitative content analysis.
RESULTS: The analysis resulted in one overall theme Being 'alone' striving for belonging and adaption in a new reality, synthesized from four sub-themes: (1) Being in an unknown country; (2) Longing for a place for me and us; (3) Being a carer first and a person second; and (4) Being alone in a relationship.
CONCLUSIONS: The training of care professionals regarding the unique needs of spouse carers of people with dementia needs improvement, with education, in particular, focusing on their need to be considered as a person separate from being a carer and on the significance of the couple's relationship for their mutual well-being.